Apple's high-end Pro Display XDR replacement isn’t the budget monitor we need

Rumors of an upcoming Pro display from Apple sound impressive, but most users are crying out for an entry-level option

Apple Pro Display XDR
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s Pro Display XDR is impressive. When it launched back at WWDC in 2019 alongside the new Mac Pro there was no doubt that this was the monitor for pro video and creative users. But with a price of nearly $5K / £4,600 / AU$5,000 – $6K / £5,500 /AU$6,000 if you opt for the nano-texture glass – it’s out of reach for most users.

According to 9to5 Mac, Apple is currently working on a replacement to the Pro Display XDR that features an A13 chip and Neutral Engine. This would give it the ability to deliver high resolution graphics without relying on the computer’s processor. The results are likely to be spectacular, though what it won’t be is cheap.

For the hordes of MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users out there, what is needed is an affordable display that carries the same aesthetic as the laptop. Something slick and Apple-like that’s under a grand.  

Right now, lots of other companies make monitors that sit well with Apple products – we’ve rounded them up in our best MacBook Pro monitors guide. You can pick up a great Full HD screen for as little as $215/AU$300 or a 4K model for just over $550/AU$750. You can even go all out and get a 49-inch super widescreen and still pay just over $2200/AU$3,000. All significantly less than an Apple model.

The new OS Monterey will let you use an old Mac (or a new one) as a second screen, which could already be achieved using thunderbolt cables on older iMacs using the target display mode. So in theory, you could buy an iMac to work as your second display, but this feels like a waste.

What we need is something that looks like the new iMac but without the computer guts inside. It just needs AirPlay 2 to connect either your MacBook, Mac mini, iPad or iPhone. Surely this could be done for a price considerably less than $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$1,299?

I’d pay maybe $600-$800 for a 27-inch retina Mac display, and I’m pretty sure millions of other MacBook users would too. So, yes, a top end display is cool Apple, but give us non-pros something to buy too.

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.